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Tribute to Nelson Mandela and Maya Angelou: African Sanctus

Music Napa Valley at Napa Valley College

Multi-media event:

Tribute to Nelson Mandela and Maya Angelou: African Sanctus

at Napa Valley College, Performing Arts Center

By David Fanshawe

Directed by Dr. Eve-Anne Wilkes

December 7, 2014

Napa Valley College will be presenting a Tribute to Nelson Mandela and Maya Angelou: African Sanctus on December 7, 2014 at 3 p.m. in the Main Theater of the Performing Arts Center. The afternoon performance will include the powerful words of Mandela and Angelou in additional to the music of the African Sanctus by David Fanshawe. Faculty and students from the college's Umoja Learning Community, the Humanities and Music Departments will combine in word and song in this deeply engaging and exciting production.

Napa Valley College faculty members, Jeannette McClendon, Tia Madison, Janet Stickmon, and Mandisa Wood along with Umoja and Humanities students will be presenting the words of Nelson Mandela and Maya Angelou.  Mandela dedicated his life to the struggle to end racial segregation and white minority rule under the apartheid system in South Africa. He spent 27 years in prison for this freedom movement and in his words, "It was during those long and lonely years that my hunger for the freedom of my own people became a hunger for the freedom of all people.….When I walked out of prison, that was my mission, to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor both."  African American Maya Angelou is well known for her civil rights work and her autobiographical writings and poems. In her words, "My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style."   Both Mandela and Angelou were great influences in their lifetimes and still are today.

Assisting with the storytelling of Mandela and Angelou will be students from the Umoja Learning Community.  What is Umoja? The English translation is: unity -- striving for unity in family, community, nation and race. On the Napa Valley College campus, Umoja is an educational community and critical resource dedicated to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences of African American and all students. The Umoja community seeks to educate the whole student—mind, spirit, and body and helps students experience themselves as valuable and worthy of an education. Using Mandela's words: "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

An extension of the idea of unity is also apparent in the music of the African Sanctus, which will be performed by the College Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Eve-Anne Wilkes. The singers will be joined by percussionists, Doug Knoll and Brian Simpson; keyboardists, Mark Osten and Ellen Patterson; soloist, Elizabeth Dreyer, and original African taped music and pictures supplied by the composer David Fanshawe. For five years, Fanshawe traveled up the Nile and recorded music from 50 tribes in Egypt, Sudan, Uganda and Kenya, then incorporated that music within his Latin Mass composition. Fanshawe called himself "a Composer and Explorer." The African Sanctus is a powerfully robust multi-media work, complex in its presentation, in its first performance in the Napa Valley.  The music's unique quality of sound and rhythmic structure make it extraordinarily compelling for the listener.

Tickets for this concert are $20 for Adults, $15 Military/Students/Seniors (60+) and can be purchased online at or by calling the Box Office at 707-256-7500.  As a special bonus, we are offering a special of 4 tickets for $50.  Please use Discount Code Fall2014Music when making your purchase.  It is recommended that you purchase your tickets ahead of time; however tickets may also be available at the door one hour before show time.  The Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center is located at 2277 Napa-Vallejo Hwy. in Napa. Parking is also free.